City okay rezoning for housing authority

Howard Gibson (standing), of the Northwest Georgia Housing Authority details plans to replace the Graham Homes complex in East Rome to members of the Rome City commission Monday night.

Establishments that serve alcohol in Rome are getting a break for business losses related to the COVID-19 shutdown.

The Rome City Commission agreed unanimously Monday night to rebate pouring fees for a 60-day period, a move that will cost the city approximately $41,000 in revenue. City Clerk Joe Smith told the commission that checks to the business owners would be issued by his office before the end of next week.

Beer and wine pouring permits each cost $1,500 a year, equal to $4.11 a day. A permit to serve liquor costs $2,500 a year, equal to $6.85 a day. Rome has issued 58 beer pouring permits, 46 wine pouring licenses and 37 liquor pouring licenses this year.

Since liquor-pouring establishments also pay a tax based on the volume of alcohol served, Smith told commissioners that he expects them to see a slight reduction next year as a result of the public health emergency.

Commissioners also approved recommendations from the Alcohol Control Commission for fines against three businesses caught in a sting for selling alcohol to minors.

Coastal Food Mart, 1701 Turner McCall Blvd., and Maple Food Mart, 2107 Maple Road, will each have to pay a $500 fine. Latino Food Mart at 702 Shorter Ave. was assessed a $250 fine. All three stores will have formal letters of warning placed in their files with the city.

The commission also amended the itinerant vendor ordinance, limiting pop-up street merchants to no more than 30 days of activity within the city limits and no more than 10 days in any one particular spot.

Smith made it clear that the ordinance does not extend to fresh produce vendors who grow their own merchandise. If a produce vendor purchases his fruit or vegetables from another party, however, they are classified as a peddler and are subject to a license fee.

The commission approved a rezoning request from the Northwest Georgia Housing Authority for approximately 18.4 acres — the Graham Homes site in East Rome — from Urban Mixed Use and High Density Traditional Residential to Multi-Family Residential.

The housing authority plans to demolish the complex and build new units as part of its major overhaul of the Maple Street/East Twelfth Street corridor.

A rezoning for 109 Lookout Circle on Mount Aventine, from Community Commercial to Low Density Traditional Residential status, was also approved without objection.

The board also sent the master development plan for Rome’s River District, prepared by a consultant a year and a half ago, was sent back to the Redevelopment Committee for another look before it is adopted.

Also, a proclamation for Unity Against Racial Injustice was passed unanimously. It calls for all residents of Rome “to stand against racism, and continue our commitment to stand up for racial justice and civil rights for all.”

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